Re "Winners and losers in Iraq," editorial, Dec. 24
You lecture the Sunnis that they should just accept the results of the recent election, carried out under the guns of 160,000 occupying troops. You lecture the Shiites that they should reach out to the people who have been killing and torturing them for 30 years.
The West decided quite arbitrarily in 1920 that these people should belong to a made-up "nation" called "Iraq." A series of kings and dictators followed, but never a plebiscite about whether anybody wanted an "Iraq" in the first place.
Your editorial board should come out of the doldrums and begin to consider responsible solutions. Or else there is only one big loser in Iraq -- the soon-to-be former great power known as America.
\o7Oak Ridge, Tenn.
\f7The Times suggests that President Bush explain to Iraq's Sunnis that in democracies, "the group with the most votes wins." Yeah, that'll happen -- from the man who won the presidency five years ago by arguing precisely the opposite point.
STUART D. TOCHNER
\f7How Joshua Muravchik can say with a straight face that the Iraqi elections boosted democracy in Iraq or anywhere else (Opinion, Dec. 24) defies all logic.
The people of Iraq turned out in overwhelming numbers to vote, sure. But what they elected is a parliament that will be dominated by Shiite fundamentalists whose priority will be asking us to get out of their country so they can get to the business of aligning Iraq with Tehran. Voting is nice and all, but who it is that got those votes means a whole lot more.
Re "For a more secure Iraq, wall off Syria," Opinion, Dec. 26
Paul Staniland was either asleep during his Chinese history class or didn't believe what he was taught about the Great Wall. He also missed Tacitus' writings on the efficiency of Roman walls at the time, such as Hadrian's along the border with Scotland. He obviously missed the Maginot Line's deficiencies.
In their day, these walls were manned by troopers in the same way Staniland suggests that they should be today. But they failed miserably to stop either invasion or infiltration by a determined foe.
Walling out your enemy is a nice and clean fantasy, but the reality is that the local population had better be supporting your military aims. If not, you will lose the war.
WALTER BRENNAN JR.